Although we can try to develop character in our children through various methods and programs, only God can bring about permanent change in a child’s heart. Before you begin leading your children through this study on acceptance, spend time alone with God interceding for His help.
You can use the sample prayer below, or if you prefer to personalize your prayers, the additional verses under “Scripture-guided prayer” will help provide direction and inspiration.
God, You alone are holy, yet You readily accept everyone. Your kingdom is totally inclusive. Thank you for Your unconditional love. "
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!" (1 John 3:1) Being perfect, You would have a right to be choosy about who You adopt as part of Your family, but You accept all of us, regardless of our race, age, gender or appearance. Thank you for offering forgiveness and salvation to anyone who asks for it.
I am humbled by Your unbiased love and my lack of ability to love like You do. I tend to pay less attention to ________, exclude ________, choose not to be around those who ________ and generally avoid people who are ________. I cannot claim to have Your love in me, nor is Your love evident in me, if I am not accepting of others. Please forgive me for not loving and accepting others as You do (1 John 4:11).
As I pray for my children, ________ and ________, I ask that You would help them readily accept others. I ask that they would intentionally include other kids at playtime, be quick to put an arm around a child who is feeling left out, and be willing to stand up for someone who is being teased. Please give them hearts of love that warmly accept others just as they are. When ________ and ________ are tempted to judge others, or to exclude those less fortunate, less talented or those who are just different, remind them of Romans 15:7:
“Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”
Finally, I ask that You would give our family opportunities to be around people who are different and to care for those who often experience rejection. Let us be the avenue for Your love to be expressed to them. God, we have not seen You, but Your Word says that if we love one another, Your love is made complete in us. Please live in us so our family members are able to love others as You have loved us (1 John 4:11-12). Amen.
Scripture-guided prayer for parents
Pray through one or more of the selected Scriptures under each heading. Focus on listening to God and allowing His Spirit to direct you as you pray.
Begin by letting God know how much you appreciate His love and willingness to accept you as part of His family.
Psalm 103:8-13 | John 1:12-14 | Acts 10:34-36 | 2 Peter 3:9 | 1 John 3:1; 4:9-10,16
Acknowledge where and how you are not accepting of others.
Matthew 7:1-2 | Romans 14:9-10 | Ephesians 4:2-3 | James 4:12 | 1 John 3:18; 4:19-21
Thank God for ways you have seen acceptance exhibited in your family.
Ask God to help you and your children to be as accepting of others as He is.
Romans 14:17-19 | John 13:34-35 | John 15:9-14 | 1 John 2:5-6 | 1 John 4:11-12